Gospel singer Isaiah Thomas claims his record label told him it would not pay his promised $30,000 advance because God said it wasn’t time yet. Thomas says the message was delivered to him in an email that stated: “I have been seeking God about the timing of your next recording. To date, God has not confirmed His approval for Habakkuk Music to participate.”
Thomas and the Global Gospel Music Group sued Habakkuk Music and April Washington-Essex in Manhattan Federal Court.
Thomas says he signed a recording agreement with Habakkuk owner Washington-Essex in November 2007. He delivered his first album, “The Greatest,” four months later.
In late February 2009, Thomas says, he began work on his second album, using his own money while collaborating with Washington-Essex. Thomas says he spent two months working on the album, and Washington-Essex attended rehearsals and helped him choose songs.
Thomas says his contract called for a $30,000 advance before he began recording the second album. But on April 27, he says, Washington-Essex emailed him, calling off the recording sessions.
“I have been seeking God about the timing of your next recording. To date, God has not confirmed His approval for Habakkuk Music to participate,” the email said.
Thomas says Habakkuk’s refusal to pay the advance effectively ended the label’s rights to second album. So he signed up with Global Gospel Music Group in January this year.
Washington-Essex said in an email that Thomas accusations are all false.
We at Habakkuk Music invest a lot of time, money and efforts into breaking artists, Washington-Essex said. To let Global Gospel Music Group or any other entity attempt to infringe upon our assets without warning would be weak leadership on my part. Contracts can be broken, and artists can be had but, there is a way to do business
In February, Global Gospel began promoting “I Dare You,” the first single from his new album. Thomas says the single rose to No. 3 on the gospel music charts.
He claims that on Feb. 15, Habakkuk issued a press release falsely claiming it had filed an injunction against Thomas and Global Gospel. He says Habakkuk called several radio stations and demanded that they stop playing his songs.
Thomas claims Habakkuk is trying to damage his reputation, and that it never filed the so-called injunction and knows that it and Thomas have parted ways.
Thomas says Washington-Essex also refused to pay his royalties from “The Greatest.”
He claims that Washington-Essex agreed to reimburse him for $25,000 he spent making “The Greatest,” before they split the profits. Instead, he says, Habakkuk charged him $20,000 for promoting the album, though he never approved the charge.
Thomas demands $500,000 for lost royalties, fraud and unfair trade practices. He is represented by Christopher Brown with Brown & Rosen of Boston.
Habakkuk is one of the 12 minor Jewish prophets. The Book of Habakkuk is believed to have been written around 600 B.C. Commentary on it occurs in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Parts of it reappear in Paul’s Epistle to the Romans.